Sun's Supercomputer Ranking Boosts x86 Chip Strategy

With 10,480 of Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processors, the Sun system was ranked as the world's seventh-fastest supercomputer.

Aaron Ricadela, Contributor

July 3, 2006

1 Min Read

Sun Microsystems, whose RISC machines have been eclipsed in popularity by computers based on low-cost chips, is trying to turn itself around by betting on the popular x86 design. Last week, it scored a marketing boost for its strategy: A Sun system with 10,480 Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processors was ranked as the world's seventh-fastest supercomputer.

The system, at Japan's Tokyo Institute of Technology, performed 38.2 trillion floating point operations per second on the Linpack benchmark test, used to rank systems on a biannual Top 500 list compiled by researchers in the United States and Germany. Dubbed Tsubame--which translates to swallow, as in the bird--it will be used to run applications for analyzing protein molecules, simulating blood flow in the brain, and studying the effects of planets' magnetic fields. It's a needed bit of good news for Sun, which has announced major layoffs in recent weeks.

Sun's fastest supercomputer gets its speed partly from specialized chips made by ClearSpeed Technology. As performance gains of microprocessors have slowed, computer designers are using chips tuned for special apps to assist a system's main CPUs.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights